Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices are typically made from brittle materials such as silicon using traditional semiconductor manufacturing techniques. They can be etched (or micromachined) from larger structures or can be built up with material deposition processes. Maintaining dimensional control and consistent mechanical properties is considerably more difficult for MEMS because feature size is on the micrometer scale. Therefore, the application of probabilistic design methodology becomes necessary for MEMS. This was demonstrated at the NASA Glenn Research Center and Case Western Reserve University in an investigation that used the NASA-developed CARES/Life brittle material design program to study the probabilistic fracture strength behavior of single-crystal SiC, polycrystalline SiC, and amorphous Si3N4 pressurized 1-mm-square thin-film diaphragms. These materials are of interest because of their superior high-temperature characteristics, which are desirable for harsh environment applications such as turbine engine and rocket propulsion system hot sections.